Hunting Season

Duck Hunting Season opened today…… at 5:45 a.m……. I was woken up in the dark by a barrage of seemingly nearby gunfire that made me almost take cover under my bed!   You think I’d be used to it by now, after 32 years!

Sunrise

My 2 granddaughters, Kalia and Olivia, were here for the weekend and came into my room WIDE AWAKE.   When we got into the living room we saw a boat with lights turned on,  out on the river about 50 feet out, likely the hunters.  No fisherman in his/her right mind goes out before dawn on the first day of duck hunting season because all the overly enthusiastic, newby duck hunters are out in full force in the pouring rain, shooting at anything that moves.  It’s actually illegal to hunt so close to our neighbourhood (1 mile away is the rule) but those hunters just can’t wait until they get down river before they start blasting away. 

I hate hunting season.  There, I’ve said it.  First the ducks – from now until the end of the year.  One year we had 6 ‘pet’ mallard ducks – well they weren’t really pets.  They were wild ducks that we started giving our scraps to during the summer and they hung around our place even waddling up to the house when we were tardy in bringing them their treat!   We just happened to mention this humourous tale at a local social gathering and the very next day those ducks suddenly disappeared – and I think I know which duck-hunting (former) friend took advantage of them a week before the season opened.

A few weeks from now, Wild Turkeys will be on the hunting block – actually wild turkeys are not native to our area.  They were ‘introduced’ into the area about 25 years ago and now are almost a nuisance in some areas, taking over natural habitat for natural species and even destroying farmers’ crops.  At the beginning of November, the deer hunters will be out in force.  In our immediate area, I’ve seen camouflage ‘blinds’ and bated areas (windfall apples)  weeks ahead of the actual kill time.  Some friends have reported that hunters regularly just walk onto their property as if it was their own, tracking a deer to kill.

Deer on my front lawn

Many years ago, old Mr. Graham used to trap Muskrats on the river – he was one of a few old timers who trapped these creatures in hand-made wooden traps.  One year, an Osprey accidentally snagged his foot in the trap and couldn’t fly away.  When Mr. Graham came to check on his traps like he did every dawn, he carefully set the huge bird free without incident (I’m sure he was talking to the osprey the whole time since the bird didn’t appear to be panicked).   One year during duck hunting season, while waiting for the schoolbus at the end of our laneway, we had to go back to the house ‘for cover’ since the gunshots sounded so close I felt unsafe.  After the schoolbus left, I walked down our road to the turnaround and saw a boat full of hunters shooting at ducks along the waterfront right beside a neighbour’s costly boat…….. towards the roadway that the bus just turned around in!  The gloves came off and I phoned the police.  An hour later, the officer who showed up said their wasn’t much hope in catching the hunters since their ‘marine unit’ had already been taken out of the water for the season and she wasn’t going to sit at the boat launch and wait for their return (without a Tim Horton’s coffee I think).   Another time many years ago when the kids had to walk up to the old mailboxes to catch the schoolbus, a deer hunter walked leisurely by with a shotgun resting on his shoulder, saying “hello” in a casual manner.  That should never happen today!  But it still alarms me how careless and irresponsible some hunters can be about by-laws and provincial rules.  I guess I’d better watch out today when I go down to the river to trim that tree…..

One consolation to duck hunting  season is that in another month, the novelty will have worn off and few, if any, hunters will be out on the water in the cold of October’s end.

I suppose that in a post-apocalyptic world, I might consider eating wild game since it’s free of growth hormones and antibiotics. lol  But for now, I will still dislike hunting season.

Strolling in the woods

 

 

 

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